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Pioneer Lays Off 25% of Workforce to Boost Shareholder Value

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Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD - Free Report) recently laid off 25% of its workforce to reduce expenses and increase shareholder value in the long term. This week, the company cut around 230 employees from corporate offices in Las Colinas and the Permian Basin, as well as another 300 personnel who took buyouts this April.

Pioneer laid off 70 workers in the Permian and 160 corporate employees. Notably, at the end of 2018, the upstream company had 3,177 workers, of which 1,006 were connected to field and plant operations and 618 were incorporated in related jobs. The laid-off workers will get financial packages and job searching services.

This move is expected to help the pure-play Permian Basin company to maintain a competitive edge over peers through $100 million cost reduction. Notably, it recorded total costs and expenses of $1,960 million in first-quarter 2019.

"Decisions like these are never easy. In this case, they were necessary to both align our cost structure with our business strategy and to create value for our shareholders over the long term," the company said.

Pioneer has been strongly committed to returning cash to its shareholders through dividend payments and share buybacks. In February 2019, the explorer and producer hiked semi-annual cash dividend. Further, the company intends to raise dividends to reward stockholders with an annual yield of roughly 1% per share. Notably, it bought back $328 million shares under the $2-billion share repurchase program announced last December.

Price Performance

Irving, TX-based Pioneer has gained 20% year to date compared with 10.6% collective gain of the industry it belongs to.

Zacks Rank and Other Stocks to Consider

Currently, the stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked players in the energy space include Hess Corporation (HES - Free Report) , Apache Corporation (APA - Free Report) and Cactus, Inc. (WHD - Free Report) . While Hess and Apache sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cactus holds a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.  

Hess’ earnings are expected to grow more than 130% through 2019.

Apache beat earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, with the average being 31.1%.

Cactus’ earnings growth is projected at 13.5% through 2019.

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